Release Date: October 25, 2011
ESRB Rating: Mature
As Call of Duty slowly and surely dominated the first-person-shooter genre, the veteran series Battlefield was put firmly on the backburner. EA wanted to change that with Battlefield 3. They mostly achieved their goals in trying to take a piece of Call of Duty’s pie. In fact, this game has one of the strongest multiplayer modes around—though if you love playing single-player you may be extremely disappointed. Regardless of what game mode you choose, the gameplay itself still remains tight and authentic.
There are certainly some parts of this game that completely put Call of Duty to shame; in my opinion, the graphics are the best on any console game, bar none. Granted, you have to download an optional texture patch for the Xbox 360 version to make it look pretty. And not to beat up on the Xbox 360 version too much, but it comes in two discs, as opposed to the one disc PS3 version. It’s a minor gripe but it’s worth noting. In the win column, Battlefield 3’s multiplayer maps are vastly larger than those in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and this makes getting into a vehicle very appealing when starting a match. Other than the size of the maps, though, you can’t compare Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty’s multiplayer too closely, as they are very different.
Many of the first-person shooters currently on the market have guns that feel like peashooters. That isn’t the case at all with Battlefield 3. You actually feel the recoil hammer your weapon when you shoot down the barrel and you can even upgrade your barrel so you can have a steadier shot. Nothing is as satisfying as aiming down your sight, firing ahead of your target and seeing your bullet drop directly on their unsuspecting body. That being said, there is a bit of a learning curve to this game because of the bullet physics. You have to adjust your shots accordingly for targets at a distance. No longer can you magically shoot straight across the map.
The gameplay on the ground works very well but you’re probably wondering how you would travel across a huge battlefield. Don’t worry, you’re covered with an immense garage full of vehicles. You have your standard tanks, jeeps and boats but where it really gets interesting is in the sky. They have two different types of helicopters: one for attacking and another for support and transport. They’re both incredibly fun to zoom around over head in. I can’t mention vehicles and not touch on how awesome the jets are. Yes, this game has flyable jets. They’re not overpowered at all– in fact, they might be a little underwhelming for air to ground battles– but once you see another jet flying around you can definitely indulge all of your Top Gun fantasies.
Mutliplayer is such a big feature in games because it gives our beloved software more shelf-time. And if we can judge how long a game survives just by their online modes, Battlefield 3 just might be immortal. You have the standard game modes such as “Deathmatch” and “Squad Deathmatch,” but the real meat and potatoes comes from “Rush,” which pits one defensive team trying to defend a bombsite against an offensive team with limited respawns. Once the attackers successfully plant on two bombsites another two pop up and the multiplayer map gets even larger, which isn’t a problem with the dynamic spawning system. It’s not an entirely fresh idea but the way this game really sets it up with the engaging atmosphere you can’t help but be pulled in.
Now that we’ve covered Battlefield 3’s strengths, we definitely have to go over its flaws. The elephant in the room is the horrid single-player. It’s very similar to Call of Duty’s multiple character viewpoints, where you switch playable characters throughout the story. Unlike Call of Duty, though, Battlefield 3’s missions aren’t memorable and often times try too hard to blow you away. The only really cool set piece in the campaign is when you’re the gunner in a jet. Yes, you’re the gunner- you don’t actually fly the jet. Which is pretty damn lame. The single-player just feels like a watered down training mode for multiplayer.
This game does offer co-op, if you’re dead set on senjoying some sort of story. The missions are actually set up well but are mostly forgettable. Unlike Halo Reach, you can’t play with multiple friends. It’s just you and one other. It would’ve been cool to have three or four buddies helping you out, but it’s only a minor detraction. Though the only reason I trudged through the missions was to unlock more weapons.
If you like being rewarded you’re going to absolutely love how they set up the unlockables. As previously mentioned, you can unlock guns through the co-op by completing missions. Though where you’re going to do the most unlocking is online. You can pretty much have any scope on any weapon. Want a hunting scope on your M4? No problem! Want a red-dot sight on your Sniper Rifle? Okay. You can even unlock things for your vehicles, for instance, having flares for your attack helicopters. None of the unlockables feel unbalanced either, which is important for a game that thrives on its multiplayer.
For those looking for a decent change of pace to your close-quarter first person shooters then do yourself a favor and check this game out. Though the single-player lacks any memorable experiences, you’ll be blown away by the amazing multiplayer. There’s a learning curve when you jump online but if you have the patience to learn everything about the game then you’ll no doubt have a new favorite in your collection.